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Author Topic: Least menu driven good radio  (Read 15529 times)
WB5PGX
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Posts: 13




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« on: November 13, 2012, 01:38:41 PM »

I grew up on collins s lines and Kenwood ts 520 radios and dont really care for menu based operation on hf radios. My question is- what is the least menu driven, most knob twisting hf rig that is a good performer? (not entry level)
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WB4SPT
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Posts: 160




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« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2012, 06:15:05 PM »

Drake 4 line, manual tuner, tube linear, ladder lined dipole.  Run them as separates.  As much knob twisting as possible!
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WB5PGX
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« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2012, 07:15:28 PM »

Ok let me rephrase the question. What new radio is a good performer but has the easiest operation for some one who is not crazy about a lot of menu navigating . Has menus that are the easiest to navigate.
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W1JKA
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« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2012, 01:48:57 AM »

       It would be helpful if you gave a few specifics about your definition of (general performance)and also your definition of( entry level),if by this you mean cost you must realize that with today's modern rigs that your two requirements are not necessarily directly related.Give your readers something to work with.
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AB7KT
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Posts: 155




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« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2012, 03:19:38 AM »

First of all, I am not convinced that more knobs, buttons, menus, etc. equal a better radio: depending on what you do with ham radio.
In other words, an "Entry Level" radio may fit your needs exactly.

I operate CW, SSB, and occasionally JT65 or PSK 31. I don't contest. I ragchew, I chase a little DX, I chase a few awards. I own a number of rigs (including an S-Line), one of which is an Icom IC-718. It has few knobs and buttons and it has few menus compared to any other "modern" radio I own (I have a lot of boatanchors, so everything made within the last 20 years is "modern" to me). Mine does have a 300 hz CW filter added to it. The filter is either on or off, there is no varible bandwidth or other filters to select from................
Anyway, to the point: When I am using this rig, I don't feel like I am handicapped in any way, even though it would be considered an "entry level" radio. I often find myself thinking that if I knew yesterday, what I knew today, and if I wasn't a gadget freak, that I could be quite satisfied owning only the 718. It works fine and does everything I need it to do. I have higher end radios sitting right next to it. I like them too, but if all I had was the 718, I don't think I would miss them.

Ken
AB8KT
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I thought you said this was a weak signal mode ? I HAVE a weak signal and he still didn't hear me.

FWIW: My callsign is AB8KT
N3QE
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Posts: 2356




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« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2012, 03:22:05 AM »

Some hams are innately attracted to "menu options" and will gladly explain how to optimize your transmit audio as long as you go modify these 40 parameters and options through the menu system through endless on-air sound checks.

Others with the same rig just open the box, plug it in, and use it.

In other words... in some cases I don't think the problem is the rig. It's the ham.
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W8JX
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« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2012, 04:09:54 AM »

To simplify, Yeasu's seem to be most menu defendant for many functions in their class with Icom nearly the same and Kenwood is the least menu dependent for normal functions but they all have menus.
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K1OC
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Posts: 69




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« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2012, 07:50:45 PM »

Icom IC-746 and its variants. Pretty much everything you need to do to *operate* the radio is done by pushing a button (or buttons for direct frequency entry) or twisting a knob, plus a limited number of "soft" keys whose functions change but are identified on the screen.  Menus are mostly for setting parameters you leave alone once set.  Not the most current technology available, but still a solid performer and very straightforward to operate.

73 de Tony K1OC
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KQ6Q
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Posts: 991




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« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2012, 08:59:25 PM »

I agree with K1OC - I have an Icom 746Pro because I don't like menus, and very much like a black on white display that is easy on the eyes. Other key points - no optional filters, no optional antenna tuner  -filters and tuner are standard. My pro has had no problems or issues in the 10+ years I've owned it, and it goes to our group's field day every year, and gets operated by one and all!.
It's out of production now, but the 9410 succeeds it with 440 added, and a 1.2Ghz option. Same good ergonomics.
Another point for the 746 - 100 watts all the way up through 144 mhz.

Fred, KQ6Q
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ZENKI
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Posts: 980




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« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2012, 01:22:40 AM »

There is none. Actually I could be wrong here. The FT1000MP and MK5 with inrad upgrades might do it for you. Likewise the FT2000 with Network Sciences roofing filter. The modified FT2000 would have sufficient dynamic range and  you would also have a  great clean 200 watt transmitter.

Most of the radios on the market that have a huge amount of knobs have bad receiver and transmitter performance. I suppose the message here is that bells and whistles does not always equate to  real world performance. This
is the argument run by the K3 supporters. I have K3's but I hate their ergonomics. I really  want a BIG humungous  Elecraft radio with tons of knobs like the FT2000 and FT5000. A  radio like this from Elecraft would be a huge seller
if it had a decent analog calibrated S-meter and  a 200 watt FET PA. I dont think this will happen, Elecraft seems to be captured by the cutesy QRP small radio mentality even though their radios have tons of receiver performance.

If Yaesu put  a decent receiver into a radio  like the FT950 that would  have been an ideal candidate. Remember radios like the FT920, TS930S, TS940S, IC738? They were all knobbed radios with great ergonomics and  very few menus.
They were also big and nicely layed out. We just need modern versions of this style of radio with a decent FET PA and decent receiver performance.

The ideal candidate would  be the Hilberling  radio,  but how many hams can afford this beauty?  Even a radio like the TS830S  updated with a solid state PA has enough receiver performance for today. Manufacturers
really are missing a great opportunity by ignoring  what hams really want, a radio thats big in size with knobs and excellent ergonomics. If you use a radio like the K3 it would put you off menu radios for life, its ergonomics are so terrible. The K3 is a  ergonomic joke in my book.  You cant call radio ergonomic if you dont have dedicated band select buttons, end of  argument! Most hams would find powersdr running on a PC more palatable than the K3.

Its unfortunate that radio companies are moving  away from knobs towards highly menu orientated  radio operation. The new FTDX3000 is an example, frankly I would have preferred a FT102 with  some sort of external pan adapter.
The FTDX3000's bandscope  is close to being useless much like the FTDX5000's bandscope. Icom has a good tradeoff between menus and knobs. Its just unfortunate that all their transceivers have  marginal receiver  and transmitter performance.  If Icom released something the PRO series of radios in a down conversion  series of radios with 200 watts I am sure it would be very popular. I doubt that they would  undercut the IC7700 and IC7800 series of radios.
Icom has the best layout for a radio with a integrated bandscope. We more likely to see a direct sampling radio  from them.

Anyway  most of the manufacturers dont seem to want to listen to their users they seems to be  on their own planets in their own universe. All I am waiting for now is  some ham company to produce a blackbox transceiver and then they tell you to go buy  a Ipad or Smart phone for the front panel.  This is the design mentality that dominates the ham companies thinking at the moment. Its just unfortunate that they ignoring the legacy and heritage of ham radio, big boxes with knobs and switches. Its this  romantic nostalgia that appeals to most hams, not cutesy look at how smart we are  radios with menus nested 10 layers deep. I guess they just slow or need to do better market research.

I grew up on collins s lines and Kenwood ts 520 radios and dont really care for menu based operation on hf radios. My question is- what is the least menu driven, most knob twisting hf rig that is a good performer? (not entry level)
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VE3GNU
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Posts: 86




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« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2012, 09:41:41 AM »

My Icom 740 (bought in '82 this month) has every conceivable knob, button, and sliders for all functions. Not only are the knobs still as smooth and positive as when new, but they also have stainless steel 'skirts!  The 'mode', 'band' and 'meter' knobs are of the kind used on Drake gear! The true analog meter has 6 functions.  The 'AGC' knob is variable from 'off' to 'fast' to 'slow', the 'noise blanker' knob can be used from 'off' to 'normal' to 'wide' and a secondary knob can be adjusted to 'level'.
The VFO knob is every bit as smooth when new---its speed can be selected from '1 khz' to '100 khz' to '10 khz'.
I have it equipped with the FM board (haven't used that for a long while), the electronic keyer board (replaced by an outboard keyer), 2 Inrad filters for SSB, and the Icom 500 Hz CW filter.
Over the past years I have considered buying a replacement, but the longer I hold off, the more I intend on keeping it.
From what I have read---only about 4000 were built.  It has no 'general coverage'---a fact that may have hastened its demise----
I am contributing this posting all 'in the interest of KNOBS----may they stay forever!
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20635




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« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2012, 09:46:40 AM »

Ok let me rephrase the question. What new radio is a good performer but has the easiest operation for some one who is not crazy about a lot of menu navigating . Has menus that are the easiest to navigate.

Ten Tec rigs with full TFT display screen (Jupiter, Orion, OMNI-VII) have extremely simple menus and all the menu instructions are written in plain English text on the screen, when you push the MENU button.

Pushing the button does not change anything operationally at all, whether you're transmitting or receiving at the time.  You can view what the options are, turn the main tuning knob to select one (this does NOT change frequencies while you're operating), and then make a change to that highlighted selection, then press MENU again and the change is initialized.  I find it to be so simple I really never read the instruction manual on any of this -- it's so intuitive, no real explanation is required for anyone who can read English. Wink  It's also easy to make changes "on the fly," as you can be in the middle of a transmission on any mode while making a MENU alteration and selection.

This requires a decent sized display screen to make it work, and those models have one.  Hopefully their future models will also, as it's really easy to use.
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LA9XSA
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Posts: 376




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« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2012, 02:38:41 PM »

I find the Kenwood TS-2000 to be one of the most intuitive radios out there now. I think part of its popularity is that it has a easy to understand layout of buttons.
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K0JEG
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Posts: 672




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« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2012, 08:23:49 AM »

Its unfortunate that radio companies are moving  away from knobs towards highly menu orientated  radio operation.

<snip>

Anyway  most of the manufacturers dont seem to want to listen to their users they seems to be  on their own planets in their own universe. All I am waiting for now is  some ham company to produce a blackbox transceiver and then they tell you to go buy  a Ipad or Smart phone for the front panel.  This is the design mentality that dominates the ham companies thinking at the moment. Its just unfortunate that they ignoring the legacy and heritage of ham radio, big boxes with knobs and switches. Its this  romantic nostalgia that appeals to most hams, not cutesy look at how smart we are  radios with menus nested 10 layers deep. I guess they just slow or need to do better market research.

Actually, I'm looking forward to a tablet controlled radio, but I'm likely the exception not the rule. The problem seems to be one of cost. Chips and LCDs are a heck of a lot cheaper than knobs and analog meters. By orders of magnitude.

One idea that might help to bridge the gap comes from the pro audio world, where there's been an aftermarket emerge for hardware controls for audio workstation software. The link below shows a somewhat excessive example of what I'm talking about:

http://www.avid.com/US/products/ICON-D-Control-ES

Believe it or not, that entire unit is just a controller. No audio processing path (other than monitoring) in the device.

Not all radios would be open to the level of remote control that you may be asking for, but I'm sure many of the most used settings could be assigned to a controller and sent via the CAT jack. Getting feedback from the radio could be a little more difficult, but if HRD can do it, there's no reason other devices can't.
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W8JX
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Posts: 6459




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« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2012, 01:15:25 PM »


Actually, I'm looking forward to a tablet controlled radio, but I'm likely the exception not the rule. The problem seems to be one of cost. Chips and LCDs are a heck of a lot cheaper than knobs and analog meters. By orders of magnitude.


Not me. It that point a radio is really no longer a radio and more of a computer app when it need a computer/tablet to operate.
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